SRE in Transition: From Startup to Established Business

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - 4:20 pm4:40 pm

Laura de Vesine, Datadog


Startups are defined by "ship or die". As a result, SRE teams at a startup should be focused on enabling product engineers to ship features as quickly as possible. As your startup transitions from "we'll run out of money in the next 18 months" to "we have more than 1000 engineers", how should the SRE organization evolve and provide the best value through that transition (including booting one up if you don't have one)?

I will discuss specific ways the organization needs to evolve to meet this challenge, how the SRE org can advocate for and support this change (both in direct actions and in "influence"), and how the overhang of startup technical and cultural debt can make this shift more challenging (but also more necessary). The focus will be largely on my own company's experience with this transition, which are heavily influenced by an intentionally bottom-up culture, somewhat junior overall engineering population, "you build it you run it" philosophy, and long startup phase (leading to substantial technical and cultural debt) with a transition to fairly sustained hypergrowth.

Laura de Vesine, Datadog

Laura de Vesine is a 20+ year software industry veteran. She has spent the last 6 years in SRE working in incident analysis and prevention, chaos engineering, and the intersection of technology and organizational culture. Laura is currently a staff engineer at Datadog, Inc. She also has a PhD in computer science, but mostly her cats nap on her diploma.

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@conference {286280,
author = {Laura de Vesine},
title = {{SRE} in Transition: From Startup to Established Business},
year = {2023},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar

Presentation Video